another random user writes with this quote from Nature News: "Few researchers have given credence to claims that samples of dinosaur DNA have survived to the present day, but no one knew just how long it would take for genetic material to fall apart. Now, a study of fossils found in New Zealand is laying the matter to rest — and putting paid to hopes of cloning a Tyrannosaurus rex (abstract). After cell death, enzymes start to break down the bonds between the nucleotides that form the backbone of DNA, and micro-organisms speed the decay. In the long run, however, reactions with water are thought to be responsible for most bond degradation. Groundwater is almost ubiquitous, so DNA in buried bone samples should, in theory, degrade at a set rate. Determining that rate has been difficult because it is rare to find large sets of DNA-containing fossils with which to make meaningful comparisons. To make matters worse, variable environmental conditions such as temperature, degree of microbial attack and oxygenation alter the speed of the decay process. By comparing the specimens' ages and degrees of DNA degradation, the researchers calculated that DNA has a half-life of 521 years. That means that after 521 years, half of the bonds between nucleotides in the backbone of a sample would have broken; after another 521 years half of the remaining bonds would have gone; and so on."
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×
scibri writes "One side is accused of supporting ethnic cleansing; the other of being intellectually naive. Geneticists and economists are struggling to collaborate on research that explores how our genes influence and interact with economic behavior. Top economists are publishing a paper that claims a country's genetic diversity can predict the success of its economy. To critics, the economists' paper seems to suggest that a country's poverty could be the result of its citizens' genetic make-up, and the paper is attracting charges of genetic determinism, and even racism. But the economists say that they have been misunderstood, and are merely using genetics as a proxy for other factors that can drive an economy, such as history and culture."
PsxMeUP writes "CKEditor, one of the world's most popular WYSIWYG HTML editors, is getting a new default skin. The winner, Rafal Bromirski, will also receive $1000. The new design is going with the trendy monochrome look. The skin will be used with the soon-to-be-released CKEditor 4, which will feature inline editing." I recommend checking out the inline editing demo. Who needs textarea any more?
hypnosec writes "The German Government has gone a bit too far trying to be transparent, inadvertently revealing that German police monitor Skype, Google Mail, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and Facebook chat when necessary. The revelations, spotted by the annalist blog, come from a report of expenses incurred by the Federal Ministry of the Interior following a parliamentary inquiry. The report contains lots of tables and as many would find those boring, some highlights: On page 34 and page 37 of the report line item 486 and 265 respectively, represent decoding software for Google Mail, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail for prevention and investigation."
Nerval's Lobster writes "According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's latest shareholder letter (not exactly a gripping read), Microsoft sees itself as a 'devices and services company.' The subsequent 1,200-odd words hammer that point, mentioning software such as Office and Windows 8 largely in the context of tablets and other hardware — and while Ballmer acknowledges the 'vast ecosystem of partners' building a 'broad spectrum of Windows PCs, tablets and phones,' he leaves the door wide open to Microsoft building its own toys in-house. If one takes Ballmer's words at face value, it seems that Surface, the tablet Microsoft's building in-house and promoting as a 'flagship' Windows 8 device, isn't so much a lark but the harbinger of the company's future direction. Whether Microsoft's decision to build its own devices affects its long-term relationship with Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other manufacturing titans remains to be seen. Perhaps Ballmer can take some comfort from Apple, which profited enormously by pursuing the 'we build everything in-house' route. But it's indisputable that a devices-centric approach is new ground for Microsoft."
Earlier this year, the Free Software Foundation announced a hardware endorsement campaign for hardware that respects the rights of its owner (no DRM, runs Free Software, support for open formats, no or freely licensed patents, etc.). Now, they've announced that the Lulzbot AO-100 3D Printer is the first device to pass certification and be endorsed by the FSF. Source code to both the hardware and software is available, naturally.
Fifteen years from now, your alarm goes off at 7:30 AM, pulling you out of a dead sleep. You roll over, grumbling a command, and the alarm obediently shuts up. You drift off again, but ten minutes later the alarm returns, more insistent. It won't be so easily pacified this time; the loose sensory netting inside your pillow will keep the noise going until it detects alpha waves in drastically higher numbers than theta waves. Or until it gets the automated password from the shower. Sighing, you roll out of bed, pull your Computing ID (CID) card from the alarm unit, and stumble out of the bedroom. Pausing briefly to drop your CID into your desktop computer, you make your way to the shower and begin washing. Your alarm triggered the shower's heating unit, so the water comes out at a pleasant 108 degrees, exactly your preference. (42 degrees, you remind yourself — the transition to metric still isn't second nature, after almost two full years.) You wash quickly to avoid exceeding your water quota, and step out refreshed, ready to meet the day. (Read on for more.)
jjp9999 writes "The Epoch Times reports that on Monday, the same day the Intelligence Committee released its report cautioning against Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE, the U.S. said it will reject major changes to telecom at the World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference in Dubai this December. The UN conference will be the first of its kind since 1988, and its members are pressing the U.S. to hand control of governing the Internet over to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Huawei and ZTE are both members of the ITU. Terry Kramer, the U.S. special envoy to the conference, said the US opposes proposals from some of the 'nondemocratic nations' that include tracking and monitoring content and user information, which 'makes it very easy for nations to monitor traffic.'"
judgecorp writes "RSA boss Art Covielo trod on the toes of privacy proponents' toes at London's RSA 2012 show, by accusing them of faulty reasoning and over-stating their fears of Big Brother. By trying to limit what legitimate companies can do with our data, privacy groups are tying the hands of people who might protect us, he says. 'Where is it written that cyber criminals can steal our identities but any industry action to protect us invites cries of Big Brother.' Ever-outspoken, he also complained that governments and cyber-crooks are collaborating to breach organisations with sophisticated techniques. In that world, it is just as well vendors are whiter than white, eh?"
puddingebola writes "From the aricle, 'The SpaceX Dragon capsule has been successfully grabbed by the International Space Station, marking the first time a private American space flight has run a supply mission to the orbiting platform. The crew of the ISS snatched Dragon out of orbit ahead of schedule, using the space station's robotic arm to guide the capsule in after its careful approach.' NASA has also posted video of the docking."
An anonymous reader writes "HTC is the world's fifth largest phone maker, but it's starting to feel some serious pressure from giants like Samsung and Apple. HTC's third quarter net income dropped 79% from the previous quarter, and total revenues were down 48%. 'Sales of HTC's flagship One series, which debuted in February, are trailing off as Apple and Samsung spend four to six times more on marketing to ensure the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIII dominate the market, while strongly subsidizing their older models ... HTC's share of the global smartphone market by shipments fell to 5.8% in the second quarter from 10.7% a year earlier, according to Bloomberg. The company released its first Windows Phone 8 models in September, its most high-profile pre-Christmas launch, but Microsoft's operating system has yet to establish itself as a serious third player after Google's Android and Apple's iOS.'"
concealment sends this excerpt from CNBC: "A single mysterious computer program that placed orders — and then subsequently canceled them — made up 4 percent of all quote traffic in the U.S. stock market last week, according to the top tracker of high-frequency trading activity. The motive of the algorithm is still unclear. The program placed orders in 25-millisecond bursts involving about 500 stocks, according to Nanex, a market data firm. The algorithm never executed a single trade, and it abruptly ended at about 10:30 a.m. ET Friday."
bartoku writes "Slashdot, what would you put in your dream electronics hardware lab? I am putting one together, and I'm looking for suggestions on everything from equipment to furniture. My aim is for a professional-grade setup, not just a hobby lab. The goal is to be able to test and debug modern electronic device prototypes. I would love to see money-is-no-objective suggestions alongside more economically practical solutions. Links or contacts for good distributors to acquire the equipment and furniture are also welcome. I'm also interested in commentary on renting versus buying new or used higher-end equipment to be economical and keep up with equipment that will become obsolete quickly."
Hugh Pickens writes "Neal Ungerleider notes that cryptography pioneer and Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) creator Phil Zimmermann has launched a new startup that provides industrial-strength encryption for Android and iOS where users will have access to encrypted phone calls, emails, VoIP videoconferencing, SMS, and MMS. Text and multimedia messages are wiped from a phone's registry after a pre-determined amount of time, and communications within the network are allegedly completely secure. An 'off-shore' company with employees from many countries, Silent Circle's target market includes troops serving abroad, foreign businesspeople in countries known for surveillance of electronic communications, government employees, human rights activists, and foreign activists. For encryption tools, which are frequently used by dissidents living under repressive regimes and others with legitimate reasons to avoid government surveillance, the consequences of failed encryption can be deadly. 'Everyone has a solution [for security] inside your building and inside your network, but the big concern of the large multinational companies coming to us is when the employees are coming home from work, they're on their iPhone, Android, or iPad emailing and texting,' says Zimmermann. 'They're in a hotel in the Middle East. They're not using secure email. They're using Gmail to send PDFs.' Another high-profile encryption tool, Cryptocat, was at the center of controversy earlier this year after charges that Cryptocat had far too many structural flaws for safe use in a repressive environment."